His eyes are bloodshot and he looks like the kind of bike man that’d ram one into a truck but I flag him down anyway. ”N250,” he announces after I tell him where I’m going. I tell him I’ll give him N200 and he agrees, too easily. I know I have made a bad bargain, I should have told him N150.
We get to the bus stop and I join the crowd waiting for bus. Lately, I take the coaster bus to work – the big bus that causes a frenzy anything it comes because it charges half the price. Sometimes, I’m lucky to secure a seat before someone stronger shoves me aside, most times I stand.
At first standing felt different and exciting but when it began to take longer for people to alight so I can take their seat and I began to get squeezed between strangers, the excitement began to wear off like everything new after sometime.
The first coaster bus comes but the rush is maddening. Three people are at the door, pulling and tearing, trying to get in at once. As the door is too narrow for them , they are at a place struggling and this sends people behind colliding into themselves. One of them finally enters and the rest just pours in, pushing and cursing.
I imagine being caught in all that action and getting squashed like a cockroach in the process. I’d just lie there and no one will notice. There’d be a search for me and after sometime, I’ll be forgotten and everyone will move on. I wonder what they would do with my cloths- which is basically all the property I own. My big black jumpsuit will go to my sister, she has always had an eye for it. I hope no one reads my phone messages, especially my Whatsapp conversation. I search for my phone and deletes some chat, just in case.
The next bus comes but it’s full and doesn’t stop. We are having a meeting at work today and if I think of going late, I’m toast. If I actually go late, I’m dead. I imagine walking in an hour late, right in the middle of the meeting and everyone suddenly go silent.
‘Do you realise you are an hour late?’, my boss asks smiling. The smile is cold, not the one I know. It sends shivers down my spine.
‘Sir, the…’ I begin but he cuts me short.
‘My question is, do you realise you are an hour late?’
‘Why is that?’
‘Sir, there was traffic sir.’
That smile again. I shiver. He stands up, towering over me, shrinking me completely.
‘Well, I believe you are not ready for this job. Submit all the company’s property with you. We wish you success elsewhere. You are…’
I shake my head back to reality, back to the bus stop but I still can’t get the thought off my mind. It feels like the more I shake my head, the less likely it will be of happening. I shake more and then some more. A bus comes and even though it’s not the coaster bus, I enter anyway. I don’t know if they sack people from going late to meetings at work and I don’t want to find out.